Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thumbi Vaa (Sanghathil Paadatha)

This is a story of a mesmerising piece of music rediscovered after almost two decades.
There was a Tamil movie called Auto Raja (1982), with Vijayakant in the lead. The music was scored by Shankar Ganesh, except for one song - Sangathil Paadatha Kavithai - which was composed, set to music and sung by Maestro Illayaraja. The song sank without a trace along with Shankar Ganesh's mediocre songs in the movie.
After a few years, Director Balu Mahendra wanted the Maestro to use the same tune and music in a song for Olangal, a movie he was making in Malayalam.
This song Thumbi Vaa, became a huge hit. But neither this nor the Tamil original was popular in Tamil Nadu.
But things suddenly changed in 2005. Illayaraja conducted a live programme in Chennai. He sang the song (only humming) accompanied by one of the most brilliant orchestral performance by his troupe.
I saw the programme in Jaya TV and was mesmerised by the song. In fact, the entire Tamil Nadu really 'heard' the song for the first time. It has become so popular now that a jewellery house has used the tune for its advertisement.
I came across the clipping of the live performance of the song by Illaiyaraja in Chennai. He doesn't sing the song, but humms it, accompanied by his orchestra in all its grandeur. A definite must. This is in YouTube, uploaded by SaiSachin.
Here it is. It is one of my favourites.
How to play the clip: Allow the video to download at least 75 per cent before playing (watch the horizontal red bar below the clip). If the clip starts playing immediately, click the pause button and allow the horizontal bar to complete at least 75 per cent. Click the play button.

Here is the link for the Tamil original from Auto Raja. As this song is rarely available, the music quality may be bad.

And here is the super-hit Malayalam version sung by Janaki.

Demand for quota in cricket!

There was a joke spread through emails some time back on how the Indian cricket team would fare if quotas are introduced in cricket. It was just a joke, describing several funny possibilities. Now, our politicians have actually called for quotas in cricket!
This is what Ramdas Athawale has to say on our defeat to SA. His comments are in bold:

New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) Members of Parliament today expressed disappointment over India’s humiliating loss to South Africa in the second cricket one-dayer in Durban, with some of them demanding coach Greg Chappell’s removal and an explanation from BCCI chief Sharad Pawar.
Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Kumar Malhotra said Pawar must take some hard decisions to ensure India’s sequence of defeats was broken.
‘‘People feel hurt after they watch the performance of the Indian cricket team. Since Pawar is BCCI chief, he should tell what are the steps he is taking to save the team from continuous defeats,’’ he said.
‘‘What he thinks about the coach has to be decided by him,’’ he added.
Holding Chappell responsible for the defeats, RPI MP Ramdas Athawale demanded removal of the coach and non-performing players.
‘‘This is a disappointing performance as India could score only 91 runs. This means Greg Chappell is not fulfilling his responsibilities. This defeat has brought disrepute to India. ‘‘We also have demanded that at the district level scheduled caste and scheduled tribe players should be given reservation and the players performing better should be nominated for selection in Indian team,’’ he said.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Private sector banks and passbooks

No doubt, private banks have stolen a march over public sector banks due to their efficiency and superior deployment of technology. But when making profit becomes the ONLY motive, service suffers.

The notification by the Reserve Bank of India on issuance of passbooks is one such case. The notification was issued on October 4. But not even a single new private sector bank has implemented it. Why?

If this is their response to RBI's circular, one wonders what will happen to our complaints.

This is the RBI circular:

Date: Oct 04, 2006

Customer Service – Non-issuance of Passbooks to Savings Bank Accountholders (Individuals)
RBI /2006-07/139DBOD.No.Leg.BC.32 /09.07.005/2006-07

October 4, 2006


All Scheduled Commercial Banks(Excluding RRBs)

Dear Sir,

Customer Service – Non-issuance of Passbooks to Savings Bank Accountholders (Individuals)

We have been receiving representations from customers including senior citizens' associations that many banks have discontinued issuing pass books to Savings Bank Account holders (Individuals). It has also been pointed out that this decision of discontinuing the pass book system has been taken by the banks unilaterally causing much inconvenience to the account holders. It has also come to our notice that these banks are issuing Statement of Account to Savings Bank account holders at quarterly intervals instead of at monthly intervals as stipulated in our circular DBOD.No.Leg.BC.74/ 09.07.005/2004-05 dated April 10, 2004.

2. In this connection, it may be mentioned that a passbook is a ready reckoner of transactions and is handy and compact and as such, is far more convenient to the small customer than a statement of account. Use of statements has some inherent difficulties viz. (a) these need to be filed regularly (b) the opening balance needs to be tallied with closing balance of last statement (c) loss of statements in postal transit is not uncommon and obtaining duplicates thereof involves expense and inconvenience (d) ATM slips during the interregnum between two statements does not provide a satisfactory solution as full record of transactions is not available and (e) there are a large number of small customers who do not have access to computers / internet etc. As such, non-issuance of pass-books to such small customers would indirectly lead to their financial exclusion.

3. Banks are therefore advised to invariably offer pass book facility to all its savings bank account holders (individuals) and in case the bank offers the facility of sending statement of account and the customer chooses to get statement of account, the banks must issue monthly statement of accounts in terms of our circular DBOD.No.Leg.BC.74/ 09.07.005/2004-05 dated April 10, 2004. The cost of providing such Pass Book or Statements should not be charged to the customer.

4. Please acknowledge receipt.

Yours faithfully

(Prashant Saran)

Chief General Manager-in-Charge

Monday, November 20, 2006

Access restricted Web sites with Google

(from )

Google free proxy! Access restricted web sites using Google language tools service as a proxy.Contributed by: bigthistle [12/20/05 Link to this hack]

A little tutorial found on the italian site inspired me for this hack. That tutorial suggests to translate a webpage, using Google translator, to access it even if restricted.
It worked fine but something else was needed... why translate?!
Ok, let's start from the beginning. We all know that Google is more than a search engine; we do use it as provider for email, mapping, news and many other services. Google is now also a free proxy service. Proxy is a device that stands between a PC and the internet, providing all the connections to the world wide web. What a proxy does is to receive all data from a requested site, so when you access web pages all data come from proxy.
What's the purpose for Google as a proxy? We often use office/school/university connections, usually those services are set to provide more safety, blocking the access to undesidered web sites (the "black list"). What you can do now is use Google translator service (language tools) as a proxy to bypass the restrictions set for our connection!
You just need to type the following URL: ( stands for the URL you need to go to...)
What you'll get is the translation (english to english!) of the page you want to see... your connection is directed to a page so this page won't be blocked (would be blocked only with on the black list), no matter what's the content.
Notice that the URL has been a little hacked because the parameter "langpair"(1) is set to "enen" (english/english) so the page is processed by Google but you can keep the original language of the page (no need to translate!). If you need another language (e.g. french) you just need to set the parameter langpair to "frfr" and you'll be able to read french pages in french!
A couple of examples:
italian (my own homepage!)...
Last but not least: if you use this trick, you're not sure to protect your privacy, this kind of connection lets you see blacklisted pages but doesn't hide your IP address. Just go to to see your IP is not hidden...
That's all, bye.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Unhygienic Eatery

The video here is of an roadside eatery. Eating in such places is fraught with risks. But this one is worse. Before and after the eatery's 'business hours', this place is used as a toilet.
Just see the brisk business in the clip.